"Dan Cooper was my
mentor in television, someone from whom I learned not only the practical
basics of TV, but the ethical commitment to it along with a passion for
it. He is the most dedicated, intelligent and innovative person I've ever
met in the television industry" -- Risa Bramon Garcia, Casting Director,
Roseanne, Speed, Fatal Attraction.
"Everything I know about television I learned from Dan Cooper" -- The late Joel Siegel, long time film critic for Good Morning America.
Entrepreneur, Author, Producer, Director, Consultant
Mr. Cooper has
an extraordinary range of experience in the television and film
industries. He co-created the Fox News Channel and played a
central role in the creation of "20/20". He has produced hundreds
of hours of live television, and worked directly with Rupert Murdoch
and extensively with the legendary president of ABC News and Sports
Roone Arledge. Mr. Cooper is a three time Emmy winner.
In the area of film production, Mr. Cooper has directed Sam Waterston, Victor Garber, Rob Morrow, Ken Howard and James Earl Jones.
While still in
his early 20's, Mr. Cooper
directed the first music videos produced by Warner Bros. records and
produced TV news' first coverage of pop music and the counter-culture.
At 30, he created the now-ubiquitous TV news concept "team coverage".
In the early 1970's, Dan produced the style-setting WCBS-TV 11PM "Channel 2 News From The Newsroom", the first daily newscast to originate from a working newsroom. At WCBS-TV Dan also produced the first TV news coverage of the counter-culture, including producing the first profiles of pop stars ever to air on a TV news broadcast.
Dan produced and directed the first music videos made for Warner Bros. Records, including videos for Rod Stewart, Seals and Crofts and the cult favorite Little Feat (with Lowell George).
Dan joined WABC-TV's Eyewitness News as Assistant News Director. Dan oversaw all day-to-day news coverage and provided ongoing creative supervision of all news programs and production design. Dan received an Emmy for Outstanding News Coverage for mounting TV's first newscast anchored live from the location of a breaking story. It was at WABC-TV that Dan created the "team coverage" concept -- assigning a group of reporters to cover various aspects of a single story -- an innovation that has become a staple of broadcast journalism. During this period, including the fear-filled "Son of Sam" summer, Eyewitness News achieved 40-plus rating shares -- still the highest in New York TV history.
Dan served at ABC News as Program Producer of "20/20". For several years, Dan supervised weekly program production, providing editorial direction and directorial supervision, and developing the production design -- including the quick-cut, promo-style show opening that forever changed the look of information shows (everything from "Dateline NBC" to "Access Hollywood" now opens with Dan's tease/title formula). While serving as a senior producer of "20/20," Dan also produced "20/20" program segments and ABC News Specials. Dan was also the first person in the industry to use a multi-colored Chyron character generator for on-screen graphics on "20/20".
Dan moved on to independently produce and direct a wide variety of programs, and developed reality programs for Hearst and Group W (including one, "Tabloid", that later became "Hard Copy"), and was twice called in to "doctor" ailing series on the Lifetime cable network.
Pre-Comedy Central, Dan developed, with executive producer and comic Harry Shearer and SCTV executive producer Allen Rucker as well as "Friends" co-creator Kevin Bright, a major project for HBO -- live satirical treatment of the 1988 Democratic and Republican conventions. Dan worked on the official political angles with Richard Plepler, the current CEO of HBO.
Dan totally revamped a weekly syndicated half-hour business news analysis program for the Wall Street Journal, installed a studio and set in the Wall Street Journal’s newsroom, and designed and directed the show's opening. "The Wall Street Journal Report", within three weeks, saw a ratings jump of 80% over the previous version. By the time of the 1987 Wall Street crash, ratings had climbed a remarkable 900%.
In 1989, Dan joined King World Productions to start up a daily syndicated magazine program conceived by multiple Peabody winner Av Westin. Following Dan's production of the pilot, he worked closely with Roger King to sell the series. "Instant Recall" was launched in September 1990, with Dan serving as executive producer. John Palmer, formerly news anchor of NBC's "Today," was selected as host. Dan created an operating plan and hired and supervised a staff of 100, including 26 segment producers, and administered a first-season editorial budget of $27 million. For this daily series, Dan innovated a system of segment producers rough-editing and scripting segments on industrial VHS for his review—a precursor to the current trend to producers cutting their own material using Final Cut Pro. This process cut edit room time in half. Dan also commissioned systems management software to organize work flow—something never before conceived. "Instant Recall" was hailed by viewers, critics and station managers as a supremely informative and entertaining series and drew a 3.7 national rating in its first season.
In 1993, MTV asked Dan to consult in the development of a daily syndicated prime access series to be produced by MTV News and distributed by Viacom Entertainment Group. It was to be an MTV version of "Entertainment Tonight". Dan created an editorial, operating, facilities and staffing plan, and a $65 million first season budget.
In 1994, Dan joined Fox News to act as managing editor and financial chief for the Fox network prime time news magazine "Front Page". When that series was canceled, Dan continued in the same roles in the development of a new prime time news magazine called "Full Disclosure", to be co-anchored by publishing mogul Judith Regan and London Sunday Times editor-in-chief Andrew Neil. Dan was responsible for all story development, and supervised $17 million of field production. Later Dan, reporting to the Fox News CFO, supervised the creation of the Fox News Washington, DC bureau and studios. Dan also co-developed a web site -- "Movietone News OnLine" -- for News Corp/MCI’s iGuide Internet service.
With the arrival of Roger Ailes in 1996, Dan was placed on the Fox News Channel launch team. Dan's contributions and innovations were numerous. Briefly, Dan conceived the program schedule, determined the number of employees in all categories necessary to operate the channel, and created the budget and business plan working with two CFO's. Dan then supervised all aspects of the architectural/construction/design build-out of the Fox News Channel in a period of 18 weeks, with the exception of engineering, graphic design, talent selection, and editorial philosophy and editorial staffing. Dan supervised hiring of all production personnel. Dan created a number of tech/editorial elements, including using the vertical interval to distribute head-end-specific weather data to each MSO's head-end, allowing truly local weather to be placed in a "bug" in the corner of the screen. Dan's work drew personal congratulations from Rupert, Anna and Lachlan Murdoch.
In 1998, Dan served as executive producer of the first magazine series dedicated to profiling the work of "cultural creatives": people who were launching their own non-profits to build a better world. The series was called 4 Stories.
In 1999, Dan co-created FashionFinds.com, a pioneering online fashion magazine. Dan served as site designer and builder, writer, graphic designer, photographer and more.
At the millennium mark, Dan relocated to Los Angeles, where he first developed TV programming. Dan also established Dan Cooper Media Strategies, a consulting firm providing local news organizations and others with unique talent training methods in intensive multi-day "team" sessions. And Dan founded Dan Cooper and Associates, a talent management firm.
In the field of public service, Dan worked for more than 5 years as Special Consultant and Senior Producer for the New York City Police Department, creating a multi-award-winning series of constitutional law training films combining police action melodrama and TV news magazine techniques. The series starred Sam Waterston, Ken Howard and James Earl Jones, along with a cast of exceptional New York-based character actors and police officers (including Chris Noth and Rob Morrow). Dan also, in the 1980's, created a video called "Restoring Dignity: Frontline Response To Rape".
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